Where, oh where, has RECESS gone!

The Question:
Our school in northern WI is planning on doing away with recesses…except for one at lunch. Our kinders have long bus rides and won’t get out much due to the snow and cold and darkness when they get home. Are other schools going this route?
The Answers:
Aimee E Armentrout
As far as I know, Kinders in Virginia are entitled to Recess. All elementary students are. We get 30 mins a day.
Heather A Bissett
It is the law in FL for students to get 30 min of physical activity a day
Deb Haffner
We go out and then eat lunch. It is wonderful! Less tummy aches and kids eat more lunch. We do have the freedom to go outside later in the day as we see needed and yes, with full day k it is needed:)
Myrinda Ray Siciliani Dixon
My DD never like school lunch because they had to wait so long, by the time they finished, they had little to no recess left. I don’t know what they are doing now, but last year, they had 2 short recesses plus some time at lunch…they also had a before class activity called SPARKS, I think 2 or 3 times a week and PE at least once, maybe twice?
Carrie Tenbrink
That is horrible! Our kinders get a recess after lunch and then again at the end of the day for 1/2 hour. If they get there early enough in the morning, they can play before they come in.
Beth Jameson
Please fight this. Write letters, band together with other teachers, get the teacher’s union involved, city council, state leg, whatever. Truly, this is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Google play, exercise, learning, etc. and you’ll find tons of peer reviewed articles stating that test scores DROP when we take recess. Louv’s work will also back you up. PM me for more articles and truly, honestly, I would be happy to write a letter stating that from all over the country, teachers support recess for students. (yes, I am one of THOSE people…always writing a letter ūüėČ
Tina Yates Dunson
We are required to give our students (K-5) 20 minutes of recess/exercise each day. We go outside (weather permitting) every day for 20 minutes except on our 2 days of P.E.
Ali Summers
¬†My kinders only have 20 minutes at the end of the day…. ūüė¶
Jackie Durand Medina
Our school is also moving to no recess, no centers next year. Most of this is coming about because of NCLB. Schools that are not making AYP ( which will be most all eventually) have to increase academic time to improve performance. TELL LAWMAKERS!! This is the only way things will return to sanity!
Lisa Bourquin Bell
¬†My class has 20 minutes after lunch. However, they take so long to get into their snow gear, with only one adult trying to help them and monitor behaviors, that they end up with 7 minutes outside. The other day one of the kids had many misbehaviors and they were only able to have 1 minute of play. My administrator has banned extra recess because that takes away from academics! Blech!! It’s all because of NCLB.
Tina Rapp Adamson ‎
@ Jackie, Thankfully, NCLB, as it is currently, is on it’s way out, many states have recieved waivers… AYP is unreachable and kids need to move to learn. Period.
Latisia Craig
We get one 15 minute recess after lunch that we (teachers) have to monitor! that’s it!
Robyn Geogan Noble
We haven’t had recess in the city for ten years! Fortunately, my school has a very active PTO that demands it, so we do it on the sly, after lunch. But two recesses? No never, we’ve never had that. No child left behind is killing us. Maybe teachers from the suburbs and the cities need to get together to advocate for all kids.
Lora Pruden
Kids need a break to run and play. What about teacher breaks? If there is no recess, do the teachers get a break?
Carlee Osborne Wallace
We get 3 recesses.
Katharine Vera Noble
There is RESEARCH that kids need a break — not sure why it takes research, but it does. (My great-grandmother, and yours, would be livid, right?) Wish I could find you some of said research. 8(
Heather Jacenko Gauvey
I live in rainy Washington and luckily we have a covered area so my kids get two ten minutes recesses and 15 minutes after recess. Even If it rains they play outside.
Debi Gaver Ghazai
That is so sad!!! And not developmentally appropriate in the slightest! ūüė¶ We have 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes after lunch, and it’s not nearly enough!
Pam Burnett Lehman
I teach in an all day Kindergarten. We have one 25 minute recess per day. We have PE once a week. We do not have rest or snack time in our schedule. I wish we could play more but our kids are very blessed to have a wonderful playground and track! We’re also lucky enough to have the best PE teacher around!!
Christine Strader Kresge
Recess is so vital to development! Our school has a 15 min. morning recess and then lunch/recess to follow is 50 minutes total. Children need to play!
Lisa Roberson Bagley
Try only 15 min, if we are lucky, and no PE at all!! At my old school my Kinder Kids had music, PE, recess, computer, library. My new school where I’ve been this year (new state,) has no music, no PE. They do go to library only if the librarian is there. If she has a meeting or is not there, they do not get a sub and don’t go. So so so sad!! I also don’t have an assistant and have 25 kids. At the end of the day, I’m totally mentally and physically exhausted!!
Mary Hewitt
My students get 25 minutes of PE a day, recess is short-should be 30 minutes but lack of help kids get maybe 15–rarely go outside. Do have music 3 times a week. NCLB might be dying but MN is now going to implement Read well by 3rd grade basically saying same thing as NCLB. . . .most teachers I know work tails off–we want all kids at level but without resources and parent support how will it happen! K 1 needs to be social and learning two but no recess and no centers are you kidding me! We need to start talking!
Judi Wirenius Morris
WELL we get 10 min at lunch and my class, not the other, gets PE 3x a week.. We get reprimanded if we are caught on the playground.. Our day is 8:30-3:00
Karen Burnat
Oh, how sad. So much learning in unstructured play….
Adrienne Choma Sodemann
We are only allowed one 20 recess/day after lunch. We do have PE 2 x’s/wk though. This is in TX.
Twila Martin Babos
I live & teach in Anchorage, Alaska. We only have one recess – at my school it’s before lunch. 20 minutes outside in temps to -10! This is my 8th yr in Anchorage & all the schools operate this way. Usually they get a little light mid-winter! lol
Lisa Marie Combs-Presley
Half day kindergarten without recess or PE…if my kids are going nuts I can take them out, but with half a day to teach everything that is expected who has time? Little ones really need to have a break.
Melissa K. Harris Armann
We have two a day this year, one AM and one PM. During years when we have had a later lunch, I take three. Young children need to play! What a nightmare this will be for you. ūüė¶
Geri Lutes Sullivan
I teach half day kindergarten….no recess, no PE, no art class, no music class, no field trips, no computer lab and library 2x month to exchange books (but classroom teachers must stay, it’s not a prep time even though there is a librarian)…..we used to have all our specials and recess/playtime…..but so much was added to our curriculum, so they took everything away from kindergarten. Teachers and parents have complained and spoken at school board meetings, but it fell onto deaf ears.
Christie Lozen-Looney
‚Äé2 recesses. 1 at 10:40-11:10 and one at end of day, 3:20-3:35. PE 1x per week. We almost lost PE this year due to budget issues, but they did not rehire a music teacher when she moved instead
The art & PE teacher teach some music and were in charge of winter, vocal music program. Not sure what the future will bring???
Kate Paradee Roberts
Our school does already
Mrs. Miner’s Kindergarten Monkey Business
 This is not okay. What administrators do not seem to understand is that, in the end, they will be doing the exact opposite of their intent. How can they ignore the blaring brain research that states exercise amps up brain power?
Diane Parizo Nicholls
We have done the opposite by adding recess and by deleting recess from lunch for our kindies, we now have one morning recess and a longer afternoon recess later in the day. it’s worked wonderfully!
Leslie Samelson Palmer
That’s sad and going AGAINST latest, most current research. our district is actually ADDING recess (our 1-3rd grade get two – noon and afternoon)
Emily Ray
Holly Bertram
No wonder so many kids are overweight or obese!
Nicole Krane Steffens
We only have one recess after lunch but the teachers can take out their kids if need too. I make sure that we go out or at least have recess in the room for 20 minutes….It is a shame that they don’t believe that PLAY is learning…..shame
Laura Elder
We have one 15 min recess in the morning, one 15 min recess in the afternoon, and they can go out after lunch for about 7 minutes if they are done eating. We also have 25 minutes of free choice play time every day and 20 minutes each of computer lab, movement, and music every day. And we still get our academics done because the kids are able to focus during learning time. We are 8:45-4:05 in ks- feeling lucky after reading some of your comments!
Sarah Hudson
You school is making a HUGE mistake. There’s so much research about the importance of free for socialization, exercise, executive function, academic improvement, etc. Tragic. You will have to have many mini-breaks during the day, free choice in the classroom, dance parties, etc. Totally ridiculous. How does this relate to No Child Left Behind, anyway? Recess improves academic achievement.
Stacy Henry
After reading all these comments, it is becoming increasingly clear to me why kids do not like school!
Becky Jewell Cross
 Do they have PE? This is child abuse. Everyone needs a break.
Cheryl Dycio 
We only have a 20 minute lunch recess. We do add a 10 to 15 minute recess in the spring and fall when snowsuit weather is gone. The kids get too wet to have recess twice in the same day in the snowy weather. We just have an indoor break instead. At the end of the day we also have a 10 minute choice time before we pack for dismissal. I agree there is not enough time for play for our K kiddos.
Lynne Murray Smith 
Sad…people making decisions for our littles have NO idea what is best for them!
Julie Lien Rinearson 
Not to mention the correlation between lack of exercise and obesity
Emily Ray 
Shelby Forrest Wilson 
Crap like this is why I Home-schooled my boys! Best thing I ever did!
Sara Quick 
We only have 1, 30min. recess at lunch. But we also have pe/music everyday and we have another special (computer, art, library, counselor, or an early out day) in the afternoon.
Joan Cope 
We have 30 minutes recess every day unless it is raining. We also have PE. You can even teach on the playground. What a concept. Shapes, counting, measurement, writing with sidewalk chalk, science experiments, not to mention problem solving, games, etc. What in the world is happening to developmentally appropriate Kindergartens.
Christina Perkins Hunt 
We have 15 minutes. But transition is not included so most teachers cut it to 10 so they are on time for the reading block. We also have only 15 for rest.
Melissa Rosenberg Pavonarius 
We don’t have recess either, partly due the fact that our school is in an very unsafe neighborhood and it is to dangerous to take the students outside and partly because of the push to not “waste valuable learning time” However I include time during the day for movement through musical activities (educational of course) and games such as Simon Says, Follow the Leader, Hookey Pookey, etc. I try to do 10 mins in the morning between ELA and math then another 10 mins before lunch and then another 10 mins in the afternoon between science and social studies. The powers that be that make these rules have no clue what 5 and 6 year olds really need and are burning our children out at an early age. It is very sad.
Amy Hofferica Ryan
My Kinder-kids are blessed to have TWO recesses per day on most days. Still so very important, imo, and we live in Florida, so rarely get stuck inside for weather!
Traci Carter
 At my school, in NC, our kindergarteners only have PE 2 days a week for 30 minutes and we take them outside for 30 minutes the other days. But that is more of a school thing than the state I think.
Heather McClurkan Barlow
Our kindergardeners in Arkansas get the 2 30 mins of responsibilitype as well, but recesses just 15 minutes after lunch every day.
Erin Herward Thurston
Northern Virginia – Policy says 30 minutes a day. Our principal is very pro-recess so we can do more too, if it works in our schedule. We also do a lot of outdoor/environmental education at my school. My kids have 70 minutes of PE a week as well. I am so grateful for all of this!
Erin Mahar
I live in Maine and at the school I teach at we only have one recess… I teach a 1st and 2nd grade class and I think they need more recess however this time of year it is very hard because we go days on end being stuck inside due to cold and ice.
JeanAnn Webster Wiggins
In Texas most schools have p.e. about 2 times a wk. and usually at least a short recess daily at the kinder level. The standardized (if that’s what you want to call our state testing) has changed the feel of many public schools. A friend ¬†just told me her daughter’s school has the students lay their heads down for the last 5-7 minutes of lunch to prepare in silence for the rest of the day. What she described sounded weird. Public schools in Texas are in trouble.
Lisa Fuciarelli Robinson
At my school in MI our kinders are allowed 20 min at lunch and 20 min every afternoon. The 20 min in the afternoon is part of our contract. Our contract ends in June so we’ll see!
Angelan Ringland
 My kinder class has p.e. twice a week for 45 mins and recess once a day for 30 mins-texas
Julie Lien Rinearson
Washington State- At my school all students have 2 recesses per da– one is 15 minutes, the other is 30 minutes. We also have P.E. 1-2 times each week for 45 minutes.
Sara Garrigus Chisum
At my school in NC, we get one 30 minute recess per day and one P.E. class (45 mins) per week. This sounds like more than most of you have already posted, but I still don’t think it is enough. What is ironic is that schools are being blamed for overweight children because of the lunches, but they want to take free play time away? Crazy!
Judi Wirenius Morris
 ‎10 mins at lunch and 3, 45 min PEs in Arizona
Stephanie Gault Albarez
I am in an independent school district in Louisiana where we are fortunate to have PE everyday and at least 20 minutes of recess a day.
Faith Silvertooth
At my school in TX the kids get two 15-20 minute recesses a day, and PE twice a week (although I fear we are the exception because we are a private school) …during my student teaching, the school I worked at got 10 mins of recess after lunch and PE either once or twice a week
Heather Connell Karstetter
One 15 minute recess in PA
Joy Epstein
 Our kinder is only 3 hrs 20 min, so they get 15 minutes of recess. CA.
1st – 3rd get 2, 15 min recesses and about 30 minutes after they eat. 4th – 6th – 1, 15 min recess and 30 min after lunch. CA law is 200 minutes of PE in a 10 day period, structured PE not including recess time.
Stephanie Lally Young
My school has morning recess outside, lunch recess, and pe 40 minutes once a week…in PA.
Adrienne Choma Sodemann
We get 20 minutes/day…rainy days we’re stuck inside watching videos and just do some movement activities in our rooms after recess is over. PE is 2-3 times/wk. for 50 minutes each period. This is in TX.
Amanda Weaver
The school in where I teach in Indiana has 1, 15-20 min/day grades K-6! They each have gym 1-2/week for 40-45 min depending on the trimester rotation. My kids have had it once a week so far, but beginning Tuesday they will get 2.
Juli Benson McCarlson
We have a ‘recess’ before school, if the kids come at that time; and 2 recesses/day; giym 45 min/2 days/wk. Inside recess if the weather is -10 windchill; and recess is offered as a BD treat if the child chooses instead of a sweet treat. SD
Melissa Nichols Rump
I am in Delaware and we are all day kindergarten. Our schedule has a four hour academic block in the morning so we break that up with a 30 min recess in the morning. They aslo get 20 minutes at the end of the day and PE or constructive play for 45 minutes once a week.
Nicki Platt
¬†I’m in Indiana and teach full-day kindergarten. We get one 15 minute outside recess a day around lunchtime as long as the temperature is above 32 degrees. I give them indoor recess if it’s too cold. They really need more, I think! They have two thirty minute P.E. classes a week. They need the time both for physical exercise and socialization. They really need time to talk, move and interact with peers.
Tristica Stemple
I teach first grade in Nebraska-we get 15 min twice a day and 15 min after lunch. It was the same with kinder but they took away the afternoon recess; I fought to keep ours. Other schools in our district took away the afternoon recess as well and I really think the kids need it. We are on a 3 day rotations with PE, music and library so they have 25 min of PE 2 of the 3 days…after reading everybody elses I feel fortunate.
Lynne Murray Smith
In my private school in NY K has 2 PE periods per week and 30 minute daily recess plus free choice inside play for 20-30 min at the end of the day. We don’t go out if it is below 20 degrees wind chill.
Sharon Anderson Taylor
 My school in Texas has 30 minutes for recess every day, plus a total of 2 and 1/2 hours of PE every week. I teach in a K through 4th grade school and all grades are the same for recess and PE.
Angela Gossett Gibson
¬†My kiddos get PE every other day and 20 minutes of Recess at the end of the day. I like our PE schedule, but I feel like our recess is too short because if the kids take too long to clean up, we barely have time to play once we get outside. We play in the classroom if it’s below 40 degrees. – Tennessee
Monica Arnold Gallagher
Proud of my school here in Ky for this topic: we get am and pm recess for 10-15 min. each day and our principal also made the Special Area schedule so that our kids also get 30 min. of PE EVERY day!
Tina Lageson
At my school in Portland, Oregon- kindergarten students get 1-15 minute lunch recess and PE for 30 minues twice a week.
Ahnice Randolph Pierce
Texas-we have to take turns taking the kids to lunch (we rotate days between the three of us) while the lunch duty teacher eats her lunch the other two have recess duty for 30 minutes each day. The kids have PE 1-2 times a week.
Stephanie Lee Jaros
¬†I’m in St. Louis, MO – our kiddos in my district get P.E. classes 3 times each week for 25 minutes, and a lunch recess for 30 minutes daily. Towards the end of the year, we add an afternoon recess every day for 15-20 minutes.
Marcy Davis Wegner
Minnesota (private school). We are on a 6 day cycle schedule, and we have 1/2 hour PE 3x a cycle (every other day), and 30-40 minutes of recess every day after lunch. The 1-4 graders have PE 3x a cycle for 40 minutes and 30 min of recess every day.
Margaret Wilkins
We have one 15 morning recess and a 20 minute one in the pm ( lunch recess). I live in Wi. I believe kindergarterners and all students need that.
Lauren White
PA half day kdg doesnt get recess unless teacher takes them out but no time in half day with all the curriculum that needs to be covered, but does get gym twice a week for 30 min. Full day kdg gets 20 or 15 after lunch and then a 10 min late afternoon recess. Full day also gets 40 min gym class two times a week. I dont think thats too bad, what i had as a kid. I have heard worse.
Diane Parizo Nicholls
 I teach in Morrisville VT and we just added an additional recess to our full day K program. We now have a mid morning and a late afternoon recess and no longer have recess around lunch. It has been great! Our principal has suggested something similar for the other grades.
Linda Lind
¬†In my IA private school K-2 gets three 20 minute recesses a day am noon & pm- we don’t go outside if temp or windchill is below 0! We also get 25 min. of gym every other day. Kinders also get 25 minutes of choice/center time. Our day goes from 8:20 to 3:17. We teachers have rallied to keep this because it is best for our kids!¬†I agree! The government wants to know why we have sedentary and overweight children…hmmmm!
Charity Hart
In Rockford Il., they get a 15 min. lunch and then if they’re lucky, 15 min. recess each day. 2 – 30 min.P.E. a week. Too much in the curriculum to allow time for anymore. I try to invollve a lot of mov’t. in my teaching.
Leslie Chappuie-Coder
We get a 15 minute recess in the morning, about 10 minutes after lunch each day. Out PE is 25 min twice a week! I am in Ks.
Mallory Dodd Mannix
 So sad to say that where I teach in FL recess is a thing of the past. IF we do a 10 min recess after lunch, it is encouraged to be indoor-room recess- doing some type of Kagan structured activity. If we go outside, they would like to see addition kickball or some other type of structure. P.E. is 3 days a week, 50 min each day.
Karen Elle Irwin
¬†I teach in Texas in a full day K. We have 45 minutes of organized PE every day first period (although the kids are not physically active the whole time) and about 10 minutes before lunch, and that’s it. My class needs more, since I have more than several who are ADHD and not on meds. They need to go out in the afternoon to run for a few minutes or the classroom is chaos all afternoon. I asked my principal about this, and she said if we could do it under 10 minutes, ok. Any longer than that, it’s considered recess, and recess is not allowed. When will some people realize that there’s more productivity after a 15 minute break than there is all afternoon when there’s no break?!!
Karen Kerns
Monica, where do you teach? I teach in Bullitt County. We get one 20 minute recess a day and PE once a week. We always go outside as long as it’s above 32 and not raining. We usually end up taking a 30 minute recess because it’s a bit of a walk to the playground and back. ūüôā¬†¬†Kentucky.
Dawn M. Burns-Morants
 My full day public school kindergarteners get three 20 minutes recesses-morning, lunch and afternoon. I teach in Denver, Colorado.
Trudy Talcott Reese Parmarter
¬†I am in rural NY. The students in my school (K-3) have P.E. 45 minutes every other day and a 15 minute session one other time in a 6 day cycle. In my classroom I have a 20-15 minute activity burst between my reading and writing block everyday and 30 of outside or inside recess (weather pending). The principal has asked all teachers in our building to provide recess everyday but it’s up to the teacher how much and when.
Robyn Seip Frame
I teach KINDERGARTEN in Missouri. In our district our elementary students in grades K-5 have PE twice a week for 30 minutes, and recess for lower grades K-3, twice a day for 20 minutes.
Jody Gable
My private school Kindergarten has 2, 45 minute PE classes per week. We have recess daily for 30 minutes after lunch. We have Centers each day and still cover all academics. These little ones need free time and movement! That’s what helps us cover the material that takes more focus.
Amy Yokley
I teach full day kdg in Illinois. My kids get 20 mins of PE five days a week. Plus they have 20 mins of recess after lunch every day. At the end of each day my class has 15-20 of free play or social centers as well.

Laura Loveless

A full time K classroom in MI: we get a 15 minute recess before lunch supervised by a recess aide. The rest of the day must clock as instructional time- – so a teacher must take kids out for any extra time. We get one 40 minute session of PE once a week, but for 1 nine week period in the school year, each of our 4 K classrooms gets two 40 minute sessions of PE a week.

Sharon Bohn 

My Kindergarten students in OH get 30 minutes of recess each day. We try to get out as much as possible! This winter has been better than most and we have been able to be out most days. They get 2 40 minute PE classes every other week. That’s how our building balances out the availability of the teachers. When the weather is really nice, we try to get some extra time at the end of the day. The CCS are really intense and we have heavy expectations in our district but the children really need more down time. It is such a shame that their childhood is so serious and intense at such a young age! They have their whole life to be more serious.

Glenda Stephens 

In my school, we have 20 minutes recess after lunch every day and 25 minutes of PE for 4 days of the week.

Becky DeBorde Theis 

I teach in Gillette, WY. our kinders get 3 15 min recesses each day, PE 2 out of every 3 days, and we have hired a wellness person who sees every class for an additional 30 wellness every 3 days (the day they don’t have PE). Our wellness is physical activity, outside if possible, and activity/game based most days. We tried to coordinate our wellness classes to be right before our Intervention times.

Deborah Mize Black

CA – 15 min morning recess, 25 min. lunch recess and then 1 – 5 get 2 50 min PE classes each week.

Roxanne Lee 

Indiana, we have a 20 minute recess!!! Kinders need more than that. We have gym between one and two times a week for 40 minutes.


One thought on “Where, oh where, has RECESS gone!

  1. I’m not sure what Maryland law is but at my school in Prince George’s county our primary students have 20 minutes of recess and our intermediate elementary students have 15 minutes.

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